20. That Was The Week That Was

Otherwise known as TW3 to those of us of a certain age. Or as Training Week 3 in our house from now on. (If you were trying to find Post 13 it may have been missing for a short while as I was correcting a typo spotted by one of my followers. No prizes but thanks).

I had intended to post this on Friday 15th as I wanted to tell you to listen to a programme with Sir Robin Knox-Johnston on Radio 4, talking about his first round the world trip on Suhaili 50 years ago. It was well worth listening to even though the Clipper race was not mentioned so go onto BBC Sounds or whatever it’s called and catch up. It also makes today’s title very apt as there was a lot of other stuff from the 1960’s as background to his reminiscing. Impressive when you think how much has changed, what was once an endurance race is now a pleasure (well, I’m told so). My header may make you think otherwise. This was the Unicef boat coming into Liverpool last year.

The reason I did not get this out is that we have temporarily become a one-computer family and John had more serious deadlines to meet. However, it is serendipitous that the post will go out today as it is Sir Robin’s 80th birthday. Happy Birthday Sir Robin (even though he hasn’t a clue who I am). Here he is with the Visit Seattle crew last summer in Liverpool.

He made a few interesting observations that John noted down for reference: in order to get a good wash, soap yourself up, dive in at the front of the boat, let it sail past then climb back on. Repeat as necessary. Of course Suhaili is smaller than the 70 footers they sail in now so once may be enough! Regarding the cooking, open a load of tins and add them together to make pot mess. When you get fed up with it, add rice to make a risotto and when this palls then add curry powder to make a curry. At the end of the week wash the pan out then repeat with different tins.

Onto week 3 I hear you cry. This was meant to be all about using the spinnakers but I’m not sure much practical work went on. I haven’t had the chance to talk with George about his week but he did send a few photos. I’ll get more details for another post but here he is on his week. He had signed up for a week in February hoping he’d get rough weather. Well it was to a degree, they didn’t sail for the whole week. Apparently when they did their MOB (man overboard) drill, he was at the tiller, oops sorry, wheel, in charge of bringing it round to the MOB. In practice it is a mannequin so don’t panic about their safety.

Enjoying the sun

This is their first time in the 70 footers, in weeks 1 and 2 they sailed the 68 footers that were raced previously. They are quite different, not just twenty-four inches added on. They have two wheels for steering and the 16 bunks are all along the sides instead of having some at the front, which is now the sail locker, so more chance of staying dry I’m told. Here’s one of the sails being taken down (I think, corrections welcome) on John’s boat. That may be him front left.

Doing something with a sail

John had a more exciting week than George. We had Storm Gareth (or was it Freya?) and they only got out two days of the week. You may ask why they don’t go out considering what they will meet when they do set off around the world. It’s nothing to do with them being unable to cope, it’s getting the boats out and back into harbour at Gosport. We don’t want to lose any yachts before the start.

RNLI to the rescue!

As you can see from the photo above, they did have an issue. Not a man overboard but one poor soul managed to catch his thumb in a winch and badly mangled it. So at least they had a real-life practice of ship-to-ship transfer. John had his own small crisis too. Remember the watches I gave them both for Christmas? (See post 10 if not). This is the first time John’s has been out. He tells me it’s good for telling the time (always useful) and has a nifty little light for use at night so you don’t blind everyone else (use a red lamp if you can on a boat or else face the wrath of whoever is up top). However, sometime during the night he managed to press some button that set an alarm off every five minutes. How not to endear yourself to fellow travellers! He buried it at the bottom of his sleeping bag which seemed to work thankfully.

A last photo of his Clipper yacht in action. In a future post I’ll give more details of the training they have in each of the weeks.

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